UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque believes that President Duterte can assist in mediating the Russia-Ukraine conflict given the country’s neutral position and constitutionally-mandated foreign policy of peace with all nations.
Roque, an international law expert, said the Philippines has a stake in the conflict’s peaceful resolution because of the country’s dependence on imported oil and gas and strong bilateral partnership with Russia.
Citing the friendly Philippine-Russia relations since the start of the Duterte administration, Roque attested to the personal ties between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a recent speech in Tacloban City, Duterte publicly acknowledged his friendship with Putin and admitted being affected by Russia’s current situation. The President, however, maintained the country’s neutrality on the issue.
The former presidential spokesman sees Duterte as a potential mediator, given his standing among nations directly and indirectly involved in the Eastern European conflict.
Roque said the President is a friend of Russia and has good relations with the United States government since the Visiting Forces Agreement and Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines are still in effect.
“We have diplomatic relations with Ukraine despite the absence of a resident ambassador there,” Roque said.
“I believe that these countries, including US allies, will listen to what President Duterte has to say regarding the peaceful settlement of the Russia-Ukraine dispute,” he added.
Roque stressed that diplomatic interventions and dialogues among parties concerned should continue due to the war’s inflationary impact on the world’s economy.
A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report said soaring food, fuel, and fertilizer prices have shocked the global economy. The impact will cause more hunger and hardship to the poorest households in developing countries.
More than 300 Filipinos have been repatriated from Ukraine, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In 2021, the Philippines and Russia celebrated the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, highlighted by an increased exchange of high-level visits since 2016. Russia is also the country’s 19th biggest trading partner.
According to DFA, both countries signed more than 30 agreements in defense, security, trade, nuclear energy, higher education, agriculture, culture, and tourism.
The Philippines established formal diplomatic relations with Ukraine in 1992, and the bilateral ties have since been characterized by periodic visits and exchanges of multilateral initiatives.